Determining who volunteers is difficult. Statistically, half of all people in Canada have reported volunteering over the past year (Vezina & Crompton, 2010). Women are more likely to volunteer than men. However, men that volunteer tend to give more hours than women (McClintock, 2004). Approximately 67% of volunteers report being employed. Volunteers are more likely to be married or in a stable relationship than the rest of the population. Some research has shown that religiosity is an indicator that a population will volunteer. McClintock concludes four out of ten volunteers attend religious services on a weekly basis. However, this research also found that volunteers were more likely to be educated and have a higher socio-economic status.
There are multiple reasons why individuals volunteer. Often, individuals volunteer because they believe in the organization or cause. Other common reasons for volunteering include: “to use skills and gain experience, they have previously affected by the cause, to explore one’s own strengths, to fulfill religious obligations” and to be with peers (McClintock, 2004, p. 7). Some research has suggested that volunteering is becoming more popular as it is becoming more social. Vezina & Crompton (2012) found “43% of volunteers said they did their volunteer work as part of a group project with friends” (p. 37). An addition 25% of the sample reported they became interested in volunteering from an immediate family member.
Despite the high prevalence of people that are volunteering, there has been a decline in the number of hours individuals volunteer. Volunteer Canada (2012) further expands on this in noting, the “average annual volunteer hours decreased to 156 in 2010 from 166 in 2007” (para. 4). This could in part be attributed to the increased prevalence of people volunteering.
In relating these statistics to my friends, family and myself, we do volunteer at times. We are often motivated by certain causes that have affected us personally. Furthermore, we are often motivated by causes that have affected the community. However, we tend to volunteer less than the average number of hours that others in Canada volunteer (156 hours per year).
- Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating (2012) Retrieved from: http://volunteer.ca
- McClintock N. (2004) Using The National Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating to Build Your Volunteer Program. Retrieved from: http://www.imaginecanada.ca
- Vezina M., Crompton S. (2012) Volunteering in Canada. Retrieved from: http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/